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Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: Six for Langston, Diamonds triumph

Image source, Rex Features

Image description, Injury-plagued Beth Langston made only her second appearance for the Diamonds since July 2022

  • Author, Scott, Ged
  • Role, BBC Sport UK

English medium pacer Beth Langston scored an impressive 6-24 on her return from injury at York to lead the Northern Diamonds to victory in their first Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy match of the season.

After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee, Langston had played only once for the Diamonds since late July 2022 and had not taken a 50-over wicket since last September.

The 31-year-old, an unused member of England’s victorious 2017 World Cup-winning side on home soil, played in just one T20 match in 2023 after tearing her right anterior cruciate ligament while playing for the Northern Superchargers in the 2022 Hundred.

But she recovered seamlessly to take four wickets in 12 balls as the Diamonds reduced the Sunrisers to 54-7 at Clifton Park, before returning to take two more as the visitors were bowled out for 109 in 31 overs.

Diamonds themselves slipped to 32-4 before Australian Erin Burns secured victory with an unbeaten 35.

With three games to go, the Diamonds now have 30 points from nine games, putting them just one point behind league leaders Vipers.

With five games to go, third-placed Sunrisers (25) and South East Stars (23) are also likely to advance to the semi-finals, ahead of Lancashire Thunder (14).

Vipers take revenge against Stars

The Diamonds’ victory briefly put them in the lead before they took victory by a seven-wicket bonus point over the morning’s leaders. Southern Vipers above Southeast Stars and brought them back to the top with three games to go.

Former Stars fast bowler Freya Davies took 4-14 – her best haul since she took 4-23 in a T20 international for England against New Zealand in March 2021 – as the visitors were bowled out for 120 at Falkland, near Newbury.

Charli Knott, who had earlier taken two wickets, then scored 57 as the Vipers reached 121-3 in just 22.5 overs, helping the defending champions avenge their defeat to the Stars in last month’s Charlotte Edwards Cup semi-final.

Lancashire Thunder kept their slim hopes alive with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Central Sparks in Worcester.

Despite 38 points from home captain Eve Jones, Tara Norris (4-18) and her colleague, who also plays as a left-hander, Sophie Morris (3-31) helped bowl Sparks out for 144 points in 42.4 overs.

Emma Lamb then made 71 and Katie Mack 52 in an unbroken 122-run stand as Thunder marched to victory with a 21-over lead at 147-2.

In the other game of the day, The fire won by five wickets in the battle of the last two against Western Storm at Cheltenham.

Fran Wilson top-scored with 67 before Sophie Luff’s run through Kathryn Bryce for 31 triggered a collapse that saw the hosts slip from 133-2 to 217.

The visitors made an excellent start to their comeback thanks to a tough 61 from 54 balls by opener Sarah Bryce, but then faltered to 115-5 before Lucy Higham (64) and Ella Claridge (43) shared an unbroken, match-winning stand of 105 at the sixth wicket in 22.3 overs.

Game on Friday

Worcester: Central Sparks vs Western Storm (10:30 BST)